While this was going on in the Hellespont, Polyxenidas the king's prefect —he was an exile from Rhodes —hearing
that the fleet of his countrymen had left home and that their commander Pausistratus, while haranguing the assembly, had spoken haughtily and contemptuously about him, feeling a peculiar jealousy towards him, thought of nothing by day or night except how he might employ deeds to refute these high-sounding words.
He sent to him a man, who was also well-known to him, to say that he could be of great service to Pausistratus and the country if he were permitted, and could be [p. 319]
restored by Pausistratus to his home.
Pausistratus in wonder asked how this could be done, the man asked and received a pledge to co-operate in the business or to bury it in silence.
Then the go-between said this: Polyxenidas would surrender to him the royal fleet, either the whole or the greater part of it; as reward for so great a service he stipulated nothing else than restoration to his fatherland. The importance of the matter caused Pausistratus neither to believe nor to scorn the message.
He sailed to Panhormus in the land of Samos and waited there to investigate the offer that had been made.
Messengers travelled back and forth, nor was Pausistratus convinced until in the presence of his agent Polyxenidas with his own hand wrote that he would do what he had promised, and sealing the tablets with his own device sent them to him.
By this pledge he thought that the traitor was bound to him: for a man who lived under a king would not have permitted himself to give proofs, attested by his own hand, to be used against himself. The plan of carrying out the pretended treachery was then settled..
Polyxenidas said that he would give over the preparation of everything; he would not have rowers or naval allies in sufficient numbers with the fleet; he would draw up on shore certain ships under pretence of repairing them and would send others away to neighbouring ports;
a few he would keep before the harbour of Ephesus in the open sea, and these, if conditions demanded it, he would expose to battle.
The same carelessness which he heard that Polyxenidas would adopt in his own fleet, Pausistratus at once himself put into practice, sending part of the fleet to collect stores at Halicarnassus and part to the [p. 321]
city of Samos, and he himself remained at Panhormus,2
to be ready when he received from the traitor the signal to attack.
Polyxenidas by trickery added to his confusion of mind; he beached some ships and fitted up dock-yards as if he were on the point of drawing up others; the rowers he did not summon from winter quarters to Ephesus but collected secretly at Magnesia.